That demand, however, is being driven in part by hospitals and treatment centers touting the potential benefits of new technologies. For example, a 2011 study found that nine out of every 10 hospitals with robotic prostate surgery facilities claimed on their websites that robotic prostatectomy is better than conventional surgery -- less pain, shorter recovery, less scarring and less blood loss.
"Aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing and incentives associated with fee-for-service payment may promote the use of these advanced treatment technologies," the study authors wrote. "The extent to which these advanced treatment technologies have disseminated among patients at low risk of dying from prostate cancer is uncertain."
For more on prostate cancer, go to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
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